View Full Version : Disney virgin needs help with everything!

01-06-2001, 08:01 AM
This will be my family of 5's first visit to Disneyworld. Of course, I have tons of questions, have read Birnbaum's and just ordered "Disney for Dummies"! Thank God for all the helpful internet sites.I can use all the help I can get, so here goes....
1.)we're staying at HoJo's Maingate. I have heard both good and bad from this forum, but the rate was unbeatable and since this is a spur of the moment trip (we just decided that we're going 3/19), $$ is important. How are their shuttles? How late is the last one back from Disney? Good area restaurants? General helpful information about this hotel?
2.) I've heard about the refillable soda mugs. Are they only available if you are staying at an onsite resort?
3.) Is the character breakfast worth it? We get breakfast for the kids free with our breakfast from IHOP thru HoJo's, is skipping that one morning and doing the Dino breakfast or whatever worth it? Which ones are the better ones?
4.) Which WDW restaurants are good for a family type dinner. We do want to have one semi-nice dinner complete w/ Disney ambiance at a sit down place, any suggestions? Are the restaurants in the different resorts only open to patrons of that resort?
5.)Where is the Crossgate or Crossroad Plaza? Is that right on the strip of 192 where HoJo's is?
6.)Lastly, where's the best place (offsite I presume) to get souveniers? We will not have a rental car, so location is important. I know I'll want the 2001 photo album, but my three kids will want other stuff for sure (Not to mention the big husband-type kid).
Thank you SO MUCH for any helpful hints you could give. Feel free to email me directly at Limerick@taconic.net with any information. Thanks again. I AM SO EXCITED!! The Little Mermaid Rules

01-06-2001, 09:05 AM
I'm afraid I can answer only a couple of questions for you. About the refillable mugs- yes they are only good at the resort you buy them at. About character breakfasts, sit-down meals,etc. I say it really depends on your budget and how old your kids are. Our favorite is Chef Mickey's for dinner at the Contemporary resort. This is a pretty good meal, not a whole lot more expensive than breakfast. You do not have to be a guest at any particular resort to eat there, but I would make PS ahead of time. Go to www.wdwig.com (http://www.wdwig.com) to see menus for parks and resorts. You can do good on prices for souveniers at the Belz outlet mall but if transportation is an issue, stick to DD. Hope this helps!

01-06-2001, 11:20 AM
Definitly check out wdwig for dining info. It will help you alot with deciding where to eat. It's definitly worth it to do a character breakfast if your kids are into characters at all. Pick the one with your kids favorite characters. Our favorite one was Cinderellas Royal table at the castle in the Magic Kingdom. The food is good, the ambiance is great and we got quality time with all the princesses.
If you hop over to the Orlando Hotels and attractions board You'll probably get some good answeres for you questions about your hotel.
Have fun planning and Welcome to the Dis!

<font color=red>FIRST TIME TO WDW!Port Orleans December 15-16!! OKW DECEMBER 17-22!!</font>

01-06-2001, 12:22 PM
Hi, just another WDW virgin (I like how you put that! :D ) with a welcome to the DIS! Ask all the questions you can think of on the various boards here, and you will soon know everything you'll ever need to know before you get there. Good luck! :)


01-06-2001, 01:52 PM
Here are a few tips to saving some $$$$.

1) If at all possible stay on property. I suggest one of the All Star Resorts. Believe me it is well worth the extra money and so so so convient.

2) If you do stay off property. When you go to one of the parks. Magic Kingdom for example. Park your car at the Grand Floridian or Contemporary. Then catch the monorail to the park. It will save you $6.

3) A lot of people say take snacks into the park with you. Don't do it. It is a big hassle and when you are there you will want to eat at the park.

4) Split food, like a cheesburger and fries with someone else. The portions they give you are enough for 2 people.

5) By all means try to do a character breakfast or dinner. The Liberty Tree Tavern is really great. Try to get your ressies for about 5 to 5:30 in the afternoon. That way when you get done eating you can go right ourside and stake out you seat for the Electric Parade.

6) Take advantage of FAST PASS!!!

7) If you have children. Start a souviner bank for them. You will be suprised how much money they will have when it comes time to go.

That is just a few things I can come up with. If you have any other questions just e-mail me.

01-06-2001, 03:32 PM
I agree about staying at the allstars. I'm planning our first trip there for November of this year and we are booked for a week at the allstars for a little less than $600, so we still get to enjoy staying on site, but don't have to spend a lot of $$$ to do it.

01-06-2001, 04:09 PM
The advice about trying to stay on property is right. If you are able to stay on property, you will be able to make priority seatings for resort dining at least 60 days in advance of the planned meal. Something to consider if you do want the high preference sites. Also, may I recommend Dis Studio's 50s Primetime Cafe; it's a lot of fun. 50's atmosphere and you can participate too. In face it's almost impossible not to participate. My friends, mom and I were there in the beginning of December and our "Uncle Mike" started a Christmas carole and we joined right in...the whole restaurant got quiet. We sang again a little later and the WHOLE restaurant sang. It was the coolest thing!

01-06-2001, 06:29 PM
Your trip sounds kinda like ours. We are planning our first trip for November. We are also a family of 5. We tried the Allstars but only 4 to a room was what we were told. So we are staying at Dixielanding- or that is what it was called when we booked the trip- I think it is Port Orleans, French Quarters now. All of the DIS boards have helped us to plan on a budget. Just come here as often as you can--I can't write all of the tips down as fast as they post. With the help of all the great people that post, we are staying an extra day even. I've also printed out menus from the wdig.com website- this helps to figure how much it will cost to eat.(Also found lots of other good info. there). Good Luck on planning your trip and God Bless.

01-06-2001, 06:55 PM
Thanks so much for all the great ideas. I'm keeping an electronic folder on my 'puter and cutting and pasting tips all over the place. Two add'l questions....does each park have a parade (or two?) everyday? Is there a schedule of them somewhere? And also, has anyone ever done any of the fishing excursions Disney offers? My hubby doesn't want to go to FL and not even try and catch something (Heaven forbid!). Thanks again and keep them tips coming!

01-06-2001, 08:59 PM
I also agree with staying at the All stars resorts, if at all possible... We stayed there in March and are staying there again this year. You get all the disney magic and the price isn't bad at all! Several of the advantages is the free transportation to all the disney parks, wonderful pools and a great food court.

Also, if at all possible go to a character breakfast or lunch, I would skip character dinner as they cost more. You might want to check out the restaurant board.. I would definitely suggest one that has several different characters, that way your kids can see them and you don't have to stand in line to get autographs and/or pictures with them. They usually come around to the tables a few times and interact with the children.. It is a definite highlight for the children..

Good luck....


01-06-2001, 09:01 PM
Hey Limerick with you posting on here I can get all my information under one posting.LOL- You have some great questions. I have my pen and paper ready-- can't wait to see all the answers you get. Thanks for asking all the questions. God Bless you and your family.

Tiger Fan
01-06-2001, 10:51 PM
For parade times, park hours, etc. go to "HOME" on this site and then click the link for "Park Hours". You can type your dates in and search for the hours, parade scheudles, fireworks, etc. It is a lifesaver for planning.

Also if you are going in March, you can book many Priority Seatings right now. I would make a rough outline of which park on which day - since you are staying offsite (which is not near as bad as many will tell you) you can't do early entry so stay clear of early entry parks on their repsective days.

For great character dinning - our favorites are Chef Mickey's and Crystal Palace - it just depends on your kids (ages, etc.) as to what will work best for your family. Both of these meals can be done for lunch or dinner as well that way you can still get your free breakfast at IHOP.

Welcome to the DIS!



01-07-2001, 11:08 AM
stay onsite. The off site shuttles tend to be scheduled, limited and not always free. One of the advantages of staying offiste is the availability of a variety of restaurants, supermarkets, trips to Unviversal, outlet souvenir stores etc. The cost of a rental car isn't that much more than the cost of the transfers from the airport.

01-07-2001, 12:26 PM
I can help with some of your questions :).

(1) Call the HoJo's directly for their shuttle times. They probably share one with another hotel and it may take a while for you to get to and from the parks. Of course, renting a car would be the best option if you can swing that. Between the $$ you would spend in taking a shuttle from the airport and the $$ you would save by being able to drive to restaurants it would likely pay for itself.

(2) Yes, the mugs are only good for people staying on-site at specific Disney resorts.

(3) Eat your free breakfast at the hotel and plan for a character LUNCH or DINNER instead. I liked the Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom. Pooh and his friends are there. I also like Chef Mickey's.

(4) All Disney restaurants allow and expect kids(with the exception of Victoria and Albert's, and even there I saw a 10 year old girl). Most (if not all) have children's menus. Where you go depends on your budget and your taste. Most of the Disney sit-down restaurants are very expensive. We at the California Grill last month and paid $111 for dinner for 2 adults and a 15 month old baby. Her mac-n-cheese dinner was $8.50. It was very good, but $8.50 for mac-n-cheese :eek:!

(5) The Crossroads is nowhere near 192. It's at the intersection of Hotel Plaza Blvd and SR 535 (just off of I-4).

(6) You have very few options without a car. There may be a junky souvenir store near your hotel. Otherwise, you can buy at Disney ... but that's not cheap! You may be able to get to the new outlet mall at Little Lake Bryan (near the Crossroads, but not walking distance). There is a Character Outlet there which has discounted WDW merchandize. There is also the Beltz Mall which is much farther away. It has 2 WDW outlet stores and a Universal outlet store. You can ask your hotel if they can provide any kind of transportation to either mall or you can reconsider the rental car.

Good luck and have a great time!

-- Robin

01-07-2001, 12:35 PM
Well, after reading some suggestions, I decided to try Priceline and renting a car. I ended up getting a car for $15 a day, unlimited mileage! I am so psyched! The airport shuttles alone would have cost that much. Now I can hit that Belz Mall everyone is talking about for discount Disney stuff. How do you get there? And maybe we can hit Universal afterall. Is universal doable in one day? I don't want to spend too much time away from Disney.

01-07-2001, 02:22 PM
I would suggest that you take drinks and snacks. Pop costs $2 and up. Disney parks require a lot of walking, making everybody thirsty. Kids tend to get cranky (at least mine do) when their hungry. I take fruist snacks, fish crackers or peanuts. For a little something between meals. Eat the free breakfast. (save that money for something else) If you have it in your budget then have a late lunch at the park or there are lots of fast food resturants at the crossroads. Then a snack at night back in your room. I'm glad you decided to rent the car. Now you have so many more options.

01-07-2001, 03:54 PM
Wow girl! You work fast :). $15 per day is a great rate. The Beltz Mall is at the north end of International Drive. Here's their URL: http://www.belz.com/factory/locations/orlando/ .

I would still check out the mall at Little Lake Bryan. I thought they had a better selection than the Disney stores at Beltz. Also, there are lots of nice places to eat nearby. There is a Uno's pizza, Chevy's Mexican and Jungle Jim's at The Crossroads. Jungle Jim's has really good burgers (IMO) and fantastic tropical drinks.

-- Robin

01-07-2001, 04:49 PM
Here's the directions to all of the Outlet stores:

The new one is in the Premium Outlet Mall. Just go from the Crossroads
and go under I-4 and turn left into Little Lake Brian (toward the Mary
Queen of the Universe Shrine and the new Bahama Breeze. The mall will come up on your right.

Belz Outlets--
to get there from WDW take I-4 East to Exit 30A, Universal Studios.
At the end of the exit, make a right. Get in the left lane and
turn left at the next light (International Drive).
Follow I-Drive all the way to the end, You'll see Belz
Factory Outlets. Disney has stores in Mall One and Mall Two. One is called Character Premier and one is Character Warehouse (they don't say Disney).

http://artistexchange.miningco.com/arts/artistexchange/library/graphics/grndhg3.gif http://disneyclipart.simplenet.com/Characters/Goofy/goofy13a.gif <font color=red><font size=3>[b]Happy Valentine's Day!<font>